8/24/15

Dior's Sauvage Is Tanking. Is This Any Reason To Act Like Savages?


Film Still, "Le Sauvage" (1975)

Reviews for this one are not exactly glowing. François Demachy, the nose behind such classics as Ungaro Pour Homme and Fahrenheit Absolute (he is Dior's wingman), has once again struck out. Here's a few snippets from the sounding boards, to give you an impression of just how nonplussed the peanut gallery is with Dior's Sauvage:
"The scent is rather ordinary... Too ordinary to be exact, which is a shame for a brand like Dior." - Scent2Bed

"I was pretty excited at first, but I just don't see myself dropping $100 on something relatively pedestrian like this." - DerangedGoose

"It's an overall shame for Dior. Really really bad fragrance." - Albin

"Forgettable department store clone. Designed to compete for the Bleu de Chanel demographic. Beautiful, chunky bottle, but the juice was too high-octane, corporate-designed masculinity for me. Lacks subtlety. Too straightforwardly, unimaginatively 'modern male consumer.'" - michael j.

"How on earth did Dior approve of this garbage? It wreaks of 'mall scent,' cheap mall scent to be exact." - starassist

"I have no praises to offer. The tropical top accord has been overused, and certainly the synthetic sandalwood has been used to death, especially when compounded with an abundance of aromatics and a hint of salty sea spray. There is no, and I mean absolutely no originality present. The end result is of clean laundered dress shirts with a hint of yesterday's scent - something very spicy and a hint of fruit." - Liam Sardea

"'Sauvage' in French means 'savage' or 'wild.' I don't understand how or why these notions relate with this clean and safe scent." - aliks

I haven't smelled Sauvage, but I'm getting that familiar "it's 2010, Bleu de Chanel-was-just-released" feeling:

"No, Chanel, no! I was waiting for everything, but not for this." - antonpan

"What a complete letdown!" - ravjan

"Hugely mediocre and a simply forgetable perfume." - querelle

"Bland and generic - what's happening to the perfumes from this house?" - calyx93

"I can't believe that something so ordinary came from Chanel, the same house that gave the world such classics as No.5, Cuir de Russie, Sycomore, and for the men Pour Monsieur. A big disappointment. Shame on you Chanel." - michael

Yes, shame on you, Chanel. Shame on you for releasing one of the most successful fragrances of the decade, five years old and still selling like hotcakes, with a new parfum flanker to boot. And now, after all these months of hand wringing and finger wagging, we have Fragranticans and basenoters opining on Bleu's positive qualities, comparing vintages, and creating threads about Bleu's clones. It turns out that Jacques Polge's parting shot was a triumphant success, and is now considered very, very good, if not great. I personally think it's just "good," and I'll leave it at that.

My point though is that people act like every fragrance release needs to knock their fucken socks off. It's as if it never occurs to these reviewers that they might not be the demographic Dior is targeting. With this scent, as with most mainstream mall scents these days, the aim seems to be for teenagers and very young twenty-somethings with part-time jobs, full-time school, and scads of disposable cash to spend on whatever's "cool" in the moment, which Dior is hoping will be Sauvage, for at least six months or so. This shit isn't meant to appeal to perfume enthusiasts. It's not meant to be critically analyzed by people who stockpile vintage bottles of Eau Sauvage and Fahrenheit. Its spokesman is Johnny Depp, for Christ's sakes. This is for the insufferable Saturday night posers who want to appear "edgy" without actually having to assume the inherently awkward mantle of those who genuinely embody that trait. Posers like Depp.

I imagine Sauvage smells very contemporary and synthetic, nothing at all like a refined French perfume, but at least serviceable if nothing else is on hand (hard to imagine that circumstance even existing, but you get my drift). If I were to comment on a board about it, that's pretty much all I'd have to say, having never sniffed the stuff.

But as if all the whining isn't bad enough (none of it conveys what the perfume smells like), we have to get the token "rationalizer," who wishes to break down the folly of Dior's ways with armchair analysis, forming conclusions that make no sense:

"Beep beep, boop boop - I am the robot that created this scent and I am offended by many of the comments here!" - Bigsly

"There certainly may be some 'niche snobs' saying bad things about this scent, but I think that there are a larger percentage of us, me included, who don't see the reason why we should bother with an $80 bottle of this one when we really enjoy our $4 bottle of a Playboy scent, for example, more! If they can't create a scent that is much better than my best Playboy 'cheapo' (assuming it is better), then why should I consider buying it at that much higher price level? Are you going to call me a 'cheapo snob?' Can there be such a thing? LOL." - Bigsly, again.

"As I said before, if I can get a 'nice' $4 bottle (100 ml) of a Playboy scent, for example, why in the world would I pay $80 for the same size bottle of a 'nice' Dior (and why would I 'need' it, since I already have the bottle of the Playboy scent)? I think the best thing to do would be to conduct a totally 'blind' test of Sauvage against a bunch of 'cheapos' that are similar. Only then can someone say that this Dior is worth the extra money (IMO), if that person is seeking compliments from others and if Sauvage does indeed come out head and shoulders above inexpensive ones of this genre." - Bigsly, a third time.

Why drag good old Bigsly back into the fray? Partially because it's fun, and partially because I've seen this sort of argument from him and others of his ilk before, and it never ceases to confound me. Even though these are clearly (as written) Bigsly's opinion alone, and have no bearing on how other people should think, he still subjects us to the tedium of parsing past his shit by peppering the review board with non reviews that make no sense, even by his own subjective standard.

The argument is basically this: "Why should I buy this eighty dollar perfume, when I can wear this random, completely different and unrelated perfume, which smells just as 'nice,' and is seventy-five dollars cheaper?"

Well shit, I don't know. Why should anyone wear any eighty dollar perfume, when there are hundreds of four dollar fragrances out there that smell just as "nice?"

Logic check: he believes that because both scents fall into the completely arbitrary and subjective category of "nice," there is no point in buying the more expensive of the two, even if they're completely different, and buyers could have completely different reasons for wanting to wear the Dior over the, ahem, Playboy scent. Unless someone conducts a scientific double blind sniff test of Sauvage against four dollar Playboy scents, and participants unanimously choose Sauvage over the cheap stuff, there's no convincing way to claim to Bigsly that it's worth buying, owning, and wearing Sauvage. The publisher of such a study can be you (points into the crowd), or you (finger swerves randomly, and lands on someone else), as long as it's not Bigsly himself.

I'll just let that stupidity sink in, and hope someone out there can invent a Stupid Idea Crusher (with an internet app) that can recycle these inanities into suggestions that actually make sense. Better yet, recycle them into actual informed reviews with informed comparisons. Find a way to get the Bigslys of the world to actually try the very things they're criticizing, BEFORE they criticize them. This way readers don't have to wish for their five minutes back after stumbling over the senselessness of these words in an already contextually challenged universe of crap.

Why do certain perfumes bring out the worst in people, when they're really just meant to bring out the kids? Enough already. I'm tired of going on review boards and reading knee-jerk reactions to scents, when I should be reading carefully considered perceptions and articulate impressions. And I'm just as tired of reading pontifications on the subjective worthiness of perfumes by people who haven't even smelled them! Sauvage may be another Bleu de Chanel on the horizon, or it may be an incredibly mediocre and forgettable money pit. These days I can't help but wonder if the primary negative factor for the perfume industry is really its figurative lack of imagination, or all the boring complaining and bad-mouthing these perfumes and their creators endure.


Note: I'm still super pissed off about Cool Water. I'll be in a better mood when I return. I promise.

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